According to the Mayo Clinic, approximately 10% of halitosis cases are rooted in issues not involving the mouth whatsoever. These cases are known as extra-oral halitosis. Sometimes odorous breath is actually a warning sign that there is a deeper medical issue at stake.
Metabolic disorders occur when the normal metabolizing process is disrupted by unusual chemical reactions in the body. There are a number of metabolic disorders that would cause bad breath. Certain metabolic diseases that create bad breath are diabetes, liver failure and kidney disease. This is because the equilibrium of electrolytes and other bodily chemicals is imbalanced. Diabetes generally creates an acetone or fruity smell, while liver failure tends to have a sweet or musty smell. In liver conditions such as cirrhosis, it may result in a urine-like odor.
Trimethylaminuria is a relatively rare condition that may produce fish odor as it creates an improper production of the enzyme Flavin containing monooxygenase 3.
There are a handful of autoimmune diseases that may also cause bad breath. Sjögren's syndrome is an autoimmune disease that causes Xerostomia, or intense dry mouth, which can cause worsening of breath odor. Other autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto's thyroiditis and lupus can cause bad breath.
Odorous breath may also be a symptom of cancer. Cancer of the lungs, esophagus, tongue, mouth, pharynx or larynx can all cause foul odors when breathing. If you are experiencing pain in these areas, bleeding from the mouth, coughing or difficulty swallowing, you will want to see a doctor with your conditions.
Chronic Sinusitis, Post Nasal Drip & Allergies
Many times people with chronic sinusitis, sinus infections, post nasal drip or allergies are affected by bad breath. Problems with your sinuses generally causes inflammation in the nasal passages. The inflammation creates a narrowing of the passages disallowing the healthy flow of mucous and bodily matter. The trapped matter attracts sulfur-excreting bacteria that lead to bad breath.
Medications that Induce Halitosis
Some of the most frequently used prescription drugs have side effects related to bad breath, dry mouth or taste disorders. While the issue the medication is solving may be more important than minor bad breath, identifying what is causing your oral malodor may help you make a better decision for yourself. A few of the common medications that cause bad breath are:
- Blood pressure medication - Zocor
- Anti-deppresants – Prozac, Zoloft
- Antihitamines – Claritin
- Cold medications
About the Author: Dr. Anthony Dailley has been practicing dentistry since 1981. In addition to helping patients find a cure for bad breath, he conducts research pertaining to bad breath solutions and treatments at the California Pacific Lab. He founded the Center for Breath Treatment as well as NovaBay Pharmaceutical, a publicly held biopharmaceutical company. Visit Dr. Dailley, the bad breath dentist with a 99% success rate. Tweet this!